New Central Bank Guidance for UAE Financial Institutions on Suspicious Activity/Transaction Reporting

On June 7, 2021, the UAE Central Bank issued new guidance requiring all UAE financial institutions to file suspicious activity reports (SARs) or suspicious transaction reports (STRs) with the UAE’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) using the goAML portal within 35 calendar days of detection of any conduct that they reasonably suspect may be linked to money laundering, terror financing or other criminal activity.

This publication summarizes the Central Bank’s new expectations around timely alert dispositioning and SAR/STR filings. We also examine important guidance from the Central Bank regarding best practices for drafting SARs/STRs and recommended post-SAR/STR filing processes. Additionally, we cover the Central Bank’s warning to UAE financial institutions not to engage in defensive filings and, finally, we examine common typologies and red flag indicators of money laundering or terror financing in the UAE, as identified by the FIU.